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Reviewed by Tracy Young for Readers' Favorite
Emmett Long was born in 1904 in southern Oklahoma and, as he entered his teens, it soon became apparent that he was not going to be content to work for others. His father was a hard-working rancher and his family had helped to build many of the fences that bordered the land, but Emmett dreamt of greater things. Exhibiting a gift for poker playing he picked his last row of cotton and set off for his cousin Decimer’s place. This was the beginning of the story of Emmett’s rise to fame and fortune as a professional gambler. Two years later he returned home, fulfilling his prophecy that he would return in a shiny car with his pockets full of cash. Selectively Lawless: The True Story of Emmett Long, An American Original is the account of Emmett’s life and the legacy he left behind. Asa Dunnington tells a story filled with facts from Long and his family, of one of the true originals born of the times in which he lived.
This is a great story of a man who loved gambling and was also aware of the benefits of hard work. Strong as an ox, he could kill a man with one punch and reduce a man to fainting without laying a finger on him. He ran successful speakeasies and provided liquor during Prohibition. He also robbed banks and casinos, yet he was a man who commanded respect and love from those who worked for him. Selectively Lawless is a beautifully told story of a legend of the lawless West and Asa Dunnington is a natural storyteller who tells the tale with humor and pathos. Littered with references to other infamous names from the past, this story spans the growth of 20th century America as well as Emmett Long. Strap yourself in for one hell of a ride and be prepared to laugh and cry with this legend of his times.